Quality Management and Quality Assurance
Sample management within Biomonitoring California requires tracking large numbers of blood and urine specimens, while maintaining the confidentiality of information. Coordinating communication among all partners involved in the process is also very important.
Samples are received, handled, aliquoted, stored, and in some cases packaged and transported to other laboratories within or outside of Biomonitoring California. Sample management also includes maintaining archives of these samples.
Laboratory Quality System
Biomonitoring California has established a laboratory quality system that incorporates all aspects of quality assurance and quality control. The system enables the Program to:
- Track laboratory and analyst certifications
- Oversee blind audit samples
- Establish control limits for internal audit samples and quality control samples
- Meet compliance requirements for re-certification
- Develop protocols and procedures for specimen management to meet the specific needs of the field studies being conducted with Biomonitoring California collaborators
- Coordinate participation in laboratory proficiency testing and external quality control programs
Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
Information about each blood or urine sample, demographic characteristics such as age and gender of the person from whom the sample came, and the chemicals measured in the sample (analytical results) are stored in a computerized Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). The system links sample collection and demographic information with analytical results.
The LIMS is used to track sample status, assign analytical tasks to laboratory staff, and generate reports.
LIMS is a password-protected system that limits access to sensitive information. All samples are tracked with laboratory identifiers that are coded by project and test type (tests such as measuring lead in blood). Use of these identifiers protects the identity of project participants.